Runners in Scotland will be sick to death of the vocabulary that they have learned in March 2018. Most frequently used words include beast, pest, chill factor, easterlies and, most disappointingly, cancelled. Race plans have been trashed and marathon training schedules shredded as Scotland (and the rest of the UK) experienced its worst March weather in years.
We all thought that the Beast had disappeared but just when it seemed safe to come out he returned with a vengeance to maul Sunday's Alloa Half Marathon. Organisers were reluctant to cancel but eventually at the eleventh hour decided to call the race off much to the chagrin of the anticipated 3,000 field.
A hardy few ran the Alloa course (or an approximation) on Sunday morning as an unofficial run including a big group of Wee County Harriers. One commentator suggested that the Alloa route was 'runnable' but not 'raceable' and the consensus was that runners, while unhappy to miss out on a spring favourite, accepted that the right decision had been reached. They're now looking forward to a new date which will be announced soon.
The spate of postponements is put into perspective with reports that 100 participants at Saturday's Hardmoors 55 in North Yorkshire had to be rescued by Cleveland Mountain Rescue team after wintry weather closed in.
There was some bright spots over the weekend with parkruns well-attended despite low temperatures and biting winds. Edinburgh (394) and Pollok (360) enjoyed big fields while a respectable 144 ran at 2018 newcomer Crichton parkrun. Giffnock North's Ruth Joss showed the boys the way home in Dumfries in the fastest time of 19:07.
Audrey McIntosh's Loch Katrine Running Festival managed to go ahead and runners enjoyed a scenic Trossachs route despite the ocasional snow flurry.
Saturday wasn't really a day for the beach - wind, freezing temperature, the sand blasting and the sea foam showers - but it didn't deter 250 who made it to the start line for the Newburgh Beach Bash. Corstorphine's Keith Ovenstone was first home in 38:58 and Susan Strachan (Peterhead AC) was fastest lady in 48 minutes dead. The mid-point runner took over an hour reflecting a tough 10K test.
Temperatures seem set to continue to improve so those fortunate enough to have a place at the Balloch to Clydebank Half Marathon and Run Garioch for this coming weekend will be hoping that winter has finally gone.
Image courtesy Dave Cowe - check out Dave's great set of photos for the Newburgh Beach Bash via his Facebook page.